I jest! I jest! Well, okay, not so much. This week has not been a good week, shall we say.
The problem is, it’s not even a Crisis Of Epic Proportions, it’s just the same old same old. All the time, week after week. I can’t even imagine having a Crisis Of Epic Proportions lumped on top of all this, and one day it will happen, oh yes.
So, the weekend of semi-scandalous things, and a very-much improved level of muscle-tension arising from them – at least, until we had a big scuffle in the kitchen on Sunday morning (to pass the time while waiting for the toast to pop) – then included going round to a mate’s place for a catch-up and apple pie, (how American! and yet she’s from Canada!) followed by the mother of all transport related fiascos, followed by having a mate come round with compost and help plan all sorts of further semi-scandalous things…
which was followed by Monday, no surprises there. It started as Mondays will, with rain and bleary-eyed attempts to integrate sin squared x at the crack of six a.m. (tricksy Sums, you started out as innocent and straightforward integration, and then you brought sin back in, didn’t you? It is my downfall, and in a way less fun than it sounds!)
And then it continued with me getting to the office and realising my pass was in my other coat. Dammit. First forgetting to lock the Bossman’s French windows, and now this. It is a Sign, oh yes, it is a sign that I am getting too stressed when the Very small things start to give way (witness my inability to keep any sort of diary in my head for the last six months – I used to be crackerjack at that stuff!) and so I looked at the actual calendar, realised that both Dr Hurricane and Dr Anonymous are going away for most of the summer, so a convenient time to take an actual week off – i.e. without coming back to so much chaos I can never catch up and it’s worse than not being away at all, if that is possible – is going to happen Soon. Wahey! I just have to keep it together for this one week!
…which will include gutting out the studio for the Lodger Handover Of Doom, among other things, but hey, that problem is all the way away on Friday. Now let us tackle the workload, which should be smaller due to the Industrial Action Day that nobody in my team actually had any industrial action on!
And so, by the close of play, I had got no work done at all. Despite being well within the Mandatory Fortnight Turnaround period, the backlog has tipped the scales at eight whole days, and thus is now at that crisis point where the number of people asking questions/ shouting for casenotes/ just generally getting in my face about the stuff that is not yet done is so large that no stuff can be done because of it. I spent literally the whole afternoon passing on calls about stuff I couldn’t answer. God, this happened Last Time; my workload hit a critical voume, and it kept on happening, and I had to get two weeks’ sick-leave. Not now! I am so close to catching a few weeks’ break… before things go back to exactly as they are now!
Alas, I passed the calls on to Dr Hurricane, for they were about her patients, and not only did she turn out to be doing a fly Extra clinic, so bang goes my ensmallened workload (also, several-hundred-pound bonus to her! … no twenty bucks to me, due to New Rules on cutting costs), but got narked and started handing back responses such as, No And Call The Patient Back And Write To the GP And Copy It To Everyone Involved And Apologise For That Mistake Which Wasn’t Yours And Get It Off The Database NOW And Make Them an Appointment With Those People Whose Phone Is Never Not Engaged, And Also Chase The Results And Send Them To the GP, repeated two dozen times. Thus, two hours of not getting any workload processed today has spawned at least four hours of not getting any workload processed tomorrow. Assuming the phone doesn’t ring, which it will.
She also took the time to criticise the quality of my work, with which I agree, because I haven’t had the luxury of proof-reading anything since forever. On the other hand, the quality of her dictation has gone through the floor of late, to the point where she’s giving the GP a choice of dosage and the GP is hitting the roof and she’s blaming me for it. No, the entire damn letter is not a typo; I am not at such a loose end that I randomly call up names off the database and send prank medication advice.
Methinks we all need a break already.
So it does not look like I will be up to date before my consultants’ annual leave after all. Which is bad, because cancer patients, and also because many people will shout at me. Now, I could solve this by putting in unauthorised overtime, in which case my boss and my team will all shout at me; or I could solve this by putting in a Heroic Effort During Office Hours like I did last Thursday, and break myself in the process, and my team will hit the roof because I am ruining the stats for everyone.
I really do not like being put in a position where, no matter what I do, even if I pull some miracle out of the bag and fix everything, everything is going to be All My Fault.
By the close of play, the warning signs had expanded to include ‘everything is moving in very, very slow motion’ (so I am quite possibly in the middle of the mother of all fight-or-flight responses, and over a secretarial job ferchristsakes, how mortifying). It’s like some horrible hybrid between those nightmares where you can’t run away from the Horrible Thing because it’s like running through treacle, and those nightmares where every time you turn around, there is more work. Except, it’s real! Bonus! Not. I am now very worried that if someone shouts at me when I am in this mood, which they may very well do, I have no earthly idea how I will respond, and it could be a very regrettable response indeed. I also had the rather strong urge to step out into the traffic and start fights with busses. I wish I was joking about this.
And I see that writing it all down does not accurately express the despair and frustration and claustrophobia and sense of being trapped in some horrible rut forever, so maybe I am already in hell, what a punchline that would be; and makes me sound like I’m overreacting about a bad day at work. Which very possibly I am, but there is only so much I can take and also, they are all bad days at work. (Jeebus, I remember when I first took this job, we had teabreaks and my Colleague of Cakes taught me to knit during them!) – And now it’s just plugging away as fast as you can, at an impossible, unsustainable workload while all around you do their best to trip you up. And now with added bonus, And if by some miracle you succeed, then you will only make things worse.
I was so ready to punch someone at the slightest provocation that I decided the best plan was to slope home really fast, pick up some Lambrini in LIDL en route (not port! despite the delicious taste of port and the earning of the port! Lambrini is hideous synthetic Placebo booze that enables you to replicate the ‘bender’ process that provides stress relief, but yet to roll out of bed in the morning like nothing ever happened!), avoid my lodger like the plague, and work it off by hauling stuff out of the studio and into my room, where it will just have to live on top of me for a week. Once again the joke is on me – how long ago was it I was all, Ohmigod what if he is a raging psycho to my poor wee new lodgers!, and how quickly the mighty are fallen; now it is Ohmigod, what if I am a raging psycho to my poor wee new lodgers?
Fortunately, my lodger never, ever greets me with a complaint when I am just in the door, because that might put me over the edge right now. So I was more than ready for him to do so today. And he did! By god, he did! I was still unbuttoning my coat when he announced that there was no hot water and stomped off again.
I found the wall of calm, cold demeanour that enveloped me then as unsettlingly out-of-character as finding myself trilling smalltalk down the phone earlier to people I was desperate to get rid of; and in both cases, it felt as if I was only holding it together by my very fingernails. But I went coldly and calmly to the boiler cupboard, bled the boiler until the pressure was back off ‘zero’ bars, and hey presto, hot and cold running water on tap. OKAYeeeee! We are back on LI-hine!
Oh god, the trilling is back, it is the outer edge of hysteria for sure.
But I did not thump him when he just grumped at me in response. Instead I went to look at a wall and think about nothing at all and drink synthetic peach lambrini.
Until he went out, hurrah! Quick, move All the things out of the studio into the bedroom! For based on his attitude – and quite possibly an amalgamation of previous encounters with people with a similar attitude – I feel sure he is the sort of person who would gloat if he knew just how much trouble I am going to, in order to gut out an entire room so that I can give everyone concerned a sodding rent-free weekend with it, how the hell did that happen. So I want it to look effortless. At a time when Not Punching People is effort, marvellous.
I had a quick sit-down with some Kid Rock when it was half done – on the headphones, good habits die hard – and it was by a miracle that the buzzer went right when the song was done. Good fortune – I was about to go down the Allittlement! Has he forgotten his keys too?
Nope. It was two blokes with a parcel at the door. Which was odd, I haven’t ordered anything. (My suspicions began to be aroused, but it was too late, for they had seen me also). Lo, it is my Wee Bro. And it is MY DAD. Why is it my dad, he is supposed to be hundreds of miles away? WHY IS IT RELATIVES? TODAY? For is there anything that has more power to send one from nought to sixty in irritation than Relatives, who have spent one’s formative years learning all the buttons to press (‘learning’? Hell, they installed half the damn things), and here’s me with the Spectre of Spectacular Psychological Meltdown at my shoulder like an albatross. Because the universe knew I had clocked its plans to hit me up with Complaining Lodger You Now Dislike Right On Arrival, and so it decided to hit me with something else, is why.
Well you didn’t answer your phone, they said, So we thought we’d drop by anyway.
Yup, totally set-up by the powers that be, yo.
I cannot even remember if I actually said, Well, this is the mother of all bad times, but come on in, do.
Things were fairly calm, I will give them that. Despite my being right in the middle of both tearing up two rooms and stripping the bed, so of course it looks like I always live in a pigsty and don’t bother with sheets (I explained the current crisis, but I don’t expect anyone has relatives who listen to stuff like that, right?) And it wasn’t my fault they both traipsed after me into my room when I went to get something, despite my assurance that I would be right back, and it is wigs and handcuffs city in there. Although major props to my Wee Bro, not only for coming round to give me a big load of sharp and shiny knives for my birthday (which I immediately put out of reach on a high shelf, Just In Case), but also for instantly clocking the crossbows and inviting me round to his to play with them. God, we just sound like the poeple you most want to meet ever, eh?
And at least my lodger was out for the duration (after finding out he is apparently keeping a ledger of ‘weekends I am here’ versus ‘weekends I am not here’, I don’t need a ding-dong about my use of the phrase ‘I rarely use the lounge during the week’ and what the dictionary-mandated value of ‘rare’ is. Although this would explain his look of outrage whenever he walks in and I am in there to pot plants, hang laundry or simply dust the place.)
I felt a bit bad when, after lingering for what felt like a month over a small cuppa, my dad was all, Won’t you come out for dinner? I am only in the country for another week! … but seriously, I have things I really need to get done right now and you didn’t tell me you were coming over (and I am waiting for you to say a thing that drives me Actually batshit with rage, and you know you will, given enough time!) Also, I see it is now my bedtime in half an hour. Ah the busy schedule of the modern flibbertygibbet!
In conclusion: god, what a crappy day. And I am well aware that for a crappy day, no skies actually fell in, no Really Bad News was received, the world failed to end, my home did not implode, I still live in the first world and have all my limbs and everything is still just as it was. (Ready for another crappy day tomorrow, no doubt. Sigh.) But! Despite repeated provocation, number of people punched today: NONE!
I am thoroughly ashamed of feeling so thoroughly proud of this.